Your wedding is likely to be the most personalized event you'll ever throw. And considering all the thought and hard work you'll put into preparations, it stings when you discover a friend is "stealing" your ideas for her own big day. But a copycat wedding planner in your inner circle is likely just looking for a little inspiration of her own.
"For some brides, the planning of a wedding can be such an overwhelming experience that they don't know where to start. They're going to look to their friends, someone they know and trust, someone who also happens to be planning a wedding at the same time [for ideas]," says wedding planner Christa DeHuff of New York City's A Central Park Wedding. "I don't know that it's malicious necessarily. But because you spend so much time on your wedding, it can feel like a personal attack."
If that's the case, take a step back and try to put things in perspective. Is your fellow bride-to-be actually copping your original style, or are you both looking at the same Pinterest boards and vendors because they're popular?
"There's going to be some overlap if you live in the same city, have the same friend group, and plan the same wedding month, so we have to look at the situation realistically," says relationship expert Melanie Ross Mills, author of The Friendship Bond.
Mills says cases of idea theft are often rooted in fear of breaking from the herd. "We're fearful of stepping out and doing what we'd really like to do because we're afraid it won't be accepted or approved of," she says. "And so if everyone's doing a certain color scheme and we would like to do the exact opposite, there's fear involved because we want to impress our guests." Her solution: "Ask yourself, 'Am I trying to impress others or am I really planning a wedding that is about us as a couple?'"
Help your friend through that self-examination exercise by taking a collaborative — not confrontational — approach when chatting about her wedding plans.
"Ask her questions like how she visualizes her wedding day," suggests DeHuff. "Maybe she didn't even think about it, maybe she just got overwhelmed and was like, 'I'm just going to go into the details and do what she's doing.' Spend some time with her to think of the ideas that reflect her personality and style. Go to a bridal store or flower market where you can discuss what she's thinking and see ideas in person rather than going off what you have."
But even if your weddings do share some elements, they're minor details in the grand scheme of things. "We forget that the wedding is about the couple getting married," Mills says. "It's your heart that's being reflected in your wedding. Really and truly, no two weddings will ever be the same."